An Island Health worker is vaccinated at a clinic in Victoria last month. (Island Health photo)

An Island Health worker is vaccinated at a clinic in Victoria last month. (Island Health photo)

Long-term care workers in Nanaimo and Campbell River receiving COVID-19 vaccinations

Island Health says it has received additional 3,900 Pfizer vaccines

With additional COVID-19 vaccines available, the health authority for Vancouver Island has detailed plans to expand vaccinations to the central and north Island region.

In a press release, Island Health said an extra 3,900 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have been received, allowing it to expand immunization outside the greater Victoria area, with clinics now planned for both Nanaimo and Campbell River.

Care support and medical staff working in long-term care will be eligible to be vaccinated and people who qualify will be contacted directly by Island Health on how to set up an appointment, the press release said.

At a media conference Thursday afternoon, Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical officer, said about 1,900 vaccine doses will be bound for Nanaimo, 950 for Campbell River and some diverted to Victoria due to demand. Stanwick said shipments of the product will be coming weekly and there will be “consistency of availability of the Pfizer product.”

Vaccine development was sped up due to the pandemic and when asked what assurances he could give for people’s concerns, Stanwick said officials have confidence that compared to historical record, the vaccine is going to prove to be safe. It likely will be one of the most studied vaccines in the history of medicine and results and impacts will be tracked, the doctor said.

“This is such a sophisticated vaccine in that it is actually a packet of messenger [Ribonucleic acid] that is basically injected into the arm,” said Stanwick. “The muscle cells take it in. It’s a blueprint for a protein. Once the protein is made, the messenger RNA is destroyed. It migrates to the surface of the muscle cell and the body … starts making antibodies to it. So it’s probably one of the purest and simplest ways in which we’ve really ever seen in terms of trying to create immunity in the human body. It’s an exciting time for new vaccine development.”

story continues below

In terms of vaccine rollout, Stanwick said officials are ahead of schedule as some of the “best minds in public health said we wouldn’t even be talking like this until the fall.”

“That’s how long they thought it would take for a vaccine that would be 95 per cent effective to be developed and being produced in numbers that we could at least start a vaccine campaign,” said Stanwick. “I would suggest we could be as much as seven to eight months ahead of some of the optimistic predictions … so from a public health perspective, we have another tool in the tool chest to deal with COVID.”

Sharron Traub, manager of Dufferin Place in Nanaimo, welcomed the news.

“Our No. 1 goal throughout this pandemic has been to protect our residents,” Traub said in the press release. “Providing the vaccine to front-line health-care workers in long-term care is a critical line of defence to keep this virus out, and an important show of support for those caring for and protecting some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

The sentiment was echoed by the manager of Yucalta Lodge in Campbell River.

“Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine gives all of us working in long-term care renewed hope and a sense of relief after many months of vigilance,” Jae Yon Jones said in the press release. “While our entire team is weary, they are resilient and heartened by the added layer of protection the vaccine will provide for both themselves and the residents they care for.”

Island Health is adhering to B.C.’s vaccination plan, said the press release. Residents and staff in long-term and assisted living, individuals in hospital and hospital health care workers, paramedics and isolated First Nation communities are among those receiving priority.

RELATED: Snuneymuxw asks for COVID-19 vaccine ASAP as counts rise



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusIsland Healthvaccines

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce. (PQB News photo)
PQBeat: Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden looks ahead

Podcast: Talk includes 2021 business plans in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, events and more

The Village Way and Highway 19A roundabout is the Town of Qualicum Beach priority for a grant application. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council favours roundabout over turf field project

Mayor believes road project has better chance of landing grant

Curling season is over at the Parksville Curling Club and Qualicum Beach Curling Club. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville and Qualicum Beach curling clubs forced to end season

Restrictions impact financial sustainability of both operations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read